ITHACA, N.Y. – The Ithaca College football team will close out its regular season on Saturday at Butterfield Stadium with a 12 p.m. kickoff against SUNY Cortland in the 59th Cortaca Jug Game. Both teams will bring a 6-3 overall mark into the 76th all-time meeting between the local rivals, which dates back to 1930, and the Bombers will look to snap Cortland's seven-game winning streak in the series.
CORTACA PRESS CONFERENCE – 12 p.m. on Wednesday
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BIGGEST LITTLE GAME IN THE NATION: The all-time series against SUNY Cortland dates back to 1930, when Cortland won the first meeting, 12-0. Ithaca leads the all-time series 39-33-3. In 1959, Ithaca captain Dick Carmean and Cortland captain Tom Decker purchased and painted a jug from a farm in Homer, N.Y. to be used as a trophy awarded to the winning team, thus birthing the Cortaca Jug.
Saturday's matchup marks the 59th time that the two schools will clash for the Cortaca Jug. Ithaca leads the Cortaca Jug series 34-24 and own a 20-9 record at home against the Red Dragons. Since 1997, 15 of the 20 games played have been decided by one score (eight points) or less. Cortland owns a seven-game win streak heading into Saturday's matchup. The longest win streak in the series belongs to Ithaca, which claimed the Jug nine consecutive times from 1973-1981.
Over the 75 all-time meetings, Ithaca has averaged 19.7 points per game, while Cortland has averaged 17.6.
LIBERTY LEAGUE CHAMPS: With last week's 20-3 victory over Union, the Bombers secured a share of the Liberty League title. In its first season in the conference, Ithaca finished with an overall mark of 4-1 in Liberty League play. The last time Ithaca won a conference title was in 2014, when Ithaca captured the Empire 8 Championship.
MORE TO COME: Ithaca's win over Union on Saturday cemented a postseason berth for the Bombers. Ithaca has at least secured a spot in the inaugural New York State Bowl, which features the second ranked team from the Liberty League and Empire 8. The Bombers need Union to beat RPI to earn the automatic qualifier to the NCAA Playoffs. Union and RPI also play at 12 p.m. on Saturday in Schenectady, N.Y.
PUTTING UP 2K NUMBERS: Freshman quarterback Wahid Nabi surpassed the 2,000-yard mark last Saturday. The Shaker High School product now has 2,009 passing yards on the season over the course of eight games. His 251.1 yards per game ranks second in the Liberty. Nabi has averaged 265.1 yards per game since taking over the starting role in the game against St. Lawrence. Nabi has been tabbed the Liberty League Rookie of the Week four times and the ECAC North Rookie of the Week three times throughout the season.
GLADNEY GOING FOR A GRAND: Sophomore receiver Will Gladney added 10 receptions to his season total against Union. His 66 receptions this season ranks third all-time in Bomber history on the single-season reception list. Gladney current ranks behind Joseph Ingrao (2012 – 71 rec.) and Joe Palumbo (1993 – 74 rec.) The sophomore is also 77 yards shy of reaching 1,000 receiving yards on the season, a feat that only two other Bombers have accomplished in program history.
LIBERTY FOR LOIZOS: Senior linebacker Dan Loizos was named the Liberty League Defensive Performer of the Week for his play against Union. Loizos finished with 12 total tackles (5 solo, 7 assisted), 1.0 tackle for a loss and forced a fumble. Loizos leads the team with 76 tackles on the season.
STINGY IS GOOD IN THIS CASE: The Bombers defense only surrendered 188 yards of total offense to Union, the fewest total since Ithaca held Hobart to 159 yards in 2015. In addition, Union's 83 passing yards was the lowest total since Ithaca held Salisbury to 67 yards in 2014. The Bomber defense has not allowed a touchdown in 11 consecutive quarters, dating back to the St. John Fisher game.
Through nine games this season, the Ithaca defense ranks 33rd nationally in total defense, as the Bombers have allowed 286.1 yards per game.
WHAT CAN BROWN DO FOR YOU?: Senior running back Tristan Brown has 523 rushing yards on the season. The four-year starter has 2,385 career rushing yards, which ranks sixth all-time in Ithaca history. Brown needs 15 yards to move to fifth place (Bob Ferrigno, 1978-80 – 2,400 yards) on the all-time list and 42 to reach fourth place (Alex Baez, 2003-07 – 2,427).
SCOUTING THE RED DRAGONS: Cortland also enters Saturday's matchup with an overall record of 6-3. The Red Dragons average 29.0 points per game, on 349.4 yards of total offense per contest. Defensively, Cortland allows 27.8 points per outing and 415.9 yards of total offense – 182.6 rushing and 233.3 passing. Of the nine contests played this season for the Red Dragons, the outcome has be determined by less than a touchdown in five different games.
Senior quarterback Steven Ferreira averages 241.2 passing yards a game through the air and is tied for second place in the E8 with 20 touchdowns.
Ferreira is the beneficiary of four solid receivers. Nick Anderson leads the corps with 520 yards and seven touchdowns on 38 receptions, while Alex Wasserman ranks second with 29 catches and 496 yards with four scores. Angelo Foster has amassed 477 yards on 26 grabs and three touchdowns, and Zach Tripodi has added 296 yards and 31 catches with three scores.
Johnnie Akins paces the rushing attack with 609 and seven touchdowns on 119 carries (5.1 average).
ITHACA | CORTLAND